If you’ve ever been involved in an auto accident, you know there’s a lot of work that goes into getting both your car and your life back to normal. One of the most challenging components of an auto accident aftermath is dealing with the insurance company to repair or replace your vehicle.
Auto insurance companies, although they’re paid to protect their customers, are not so keen on paying out claims. After all, if an auto insurance company is paying out on a claim, it means they are losing money. Therefore, many companies will do everything they can to limit the amount they pay to you or a repair company for your vehicle.
Before you accept any settlement offers from an insurance company for your vehicle, you should know how to negotiate your car’s value to ensure you’re getting the compensation you deserve.
Understand What Insurance Companies Will Offer You
No one anticipates getting into an accident; that’s why it’s called an accident. Therefore, the first step to negotiating the value of your vehicle after an accident is a proactive one.
When a car insurance company makes a settlement offer for your vehicle, they’ll offer you the diminished value of your vehicle. The diminished value is not equal to what you paid for your vehicle. Instead, it’s the value of your car, minus depreciation and damages. Understanding the diminished value and the position of the insurance company before you begin to negotiate will help you make a more educated argument regarding the value of your car and increase the possibility of obtaining a fair settlement.
Find Comparable Cars in Your Local Area
Although the insurance company will not offer you the fair market value for your vehicle, understanding what your car was worth before your accident will help you to determine whether or not the settlement offer you receive is fair.
To search for a vehicle in your area of similar value, be sure to use this set of criteria:
- Same year
- Same make and model
- Similar mileage
- Similar condition/accident history
You can find the value of comparable cars in your local area using websites such as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.
Obtain a Professional Estimate
Another essential step in negotiating the value of your car after an accident is to obtain a professional estimate for the damages your vehicle incurred. Insurance companies will send out their adjuster after an accident to evaluate your vehicle and make their own estimates. Because insurance companies are working for their advantage, however, their estimates do not always match up to what a local, credible auto shop would charge.
Following a car accident, take your vehicle (or ask to have your vehicle towed) to your trusted mechanic. They will be able to assess the car and make an accurate estimate of the damages and repair costs. It should be possible for you to obtain their estimate and keep it on file to aid in your case.
Confirm Any Settlement Offers in Writing
Many insurance companies will make offers over the phone in an attempt to distract you and get you to agree to their offer quickly. It’s essential to be wary of this, and other scare tactics insurance companies use to their advantage.
To combat insurance company scare tactics, such as making an offer over the phone, always remember to ask for all settlement offers in writing. Doing so will allow you to examine the details of the offer and also guarantee that you have documentation to assist you in making a counter-offer.
Make the Insurance Company a Counter Offer
Once you have received an official settlement offer from the insurance company, it’s time to get to work. The best response to any settlement offer is a detailed counter-offer prepared by you. If you do the work of understanding what an insurance company can give you, researching the value of your car and obtaining a professional estimate, you should be able to create an estimate they are unable to refuse.
If you have difficulty settling your car accident claim, calling a trusted car accident attorney is always a wise decision. For sizable claims, an attorney will aid you in research to prove the value of your car and also will work to ensure you receive a settlement for any other personal injuries or damages you faced as a result of the accident.
In Louisiana, the attorneys at E. Orum Young have more than 35 years of proven experience winning sizeable settlements for their clients. To talk to them today and receive your free consultation, call their local offices at 318-450-6453.